The Harmonized System of Coding also known as Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS or HS Codes) is an internationally accepted ans standardized system for naming, numbering and classifying traded products.
The harmonized system of coding was developed and also maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO). The WCO is an intergovermantal organization based with headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Over 170 countries are members of the WCO.
The first 6 digits of the HS Codes are used universally. However individual countries are allowed to extend the number of digits to 8 or 10 for customs purposes- that is for tariff and statistical needs.
The first 4 digits of the HS CODES (also known as the heading) used for some of the items used in the jewelry industry are:
1) Natural or cultured pearls : 71.01
2) Rough or cut and polished diamonds : 71.02
3) Precious and semi-precious stones :71.03
4) Synthetic gemstones : 71.04
5) Diamond powder :71.05
6) Silver :71.06
7) Metal clad with silver :71.07
8) Gold :71.08
9) Metal clad with gold :71.09
10) Platinum : 71.10
11) Metal clad with platinum : 71.11
12) Scrap precious metal : 71.12
13) Jewellery findings : 71.13
14) Imitation jewellery findings : 71.14
15) Other articles of precious metal : 71.15
16) Jewellery set with pearls or gemstones :71.16
17) Imitation Jewellery :71.17
18) Gold coins: 71.18
19) Tools used in the jewellery industry : 84.56
20) Tools used in the lapidary industry
21) Jewellery box : 42.02
Some important uses of HS Codes include:
i) Custom tariffs
ii) Collection of internal taxes
iii)Rules of origin
iv)Collection of international trade statistics.
v) Used in transport tariffs and statistics.
vi)Trade negotiations between countries. eg Tariff concessions.
vi) Very useful in the monitoring of controlled goods such as chemicals that deplete the ozone layer and endangered species.
It is important to note that the codes have been revised over the years, so it is very important to cross check the definitions and codes to see if they match especially when reviewing data even a few years old.